Whether you are improvising a lead line, or crafting the perfect solo, you are always connecting different musical ideas together. This is how we express ourselves as guitarists and musicians. Before we can do that, however, there are couple preliminary steps involved. The first of these steps is, of course, establishing a vocabulary of licks and riffs.
In Alex Skolnick’s Heavy Rock edition of Solo Factory, you cover the next, and most important step: stringing these ideas together.
Here are seven video heavy rock guitar soloing lessons from the course. For the full course, check out Alex Skolnick’s Solo Factory: Heavy Rock on TrueFire!
Guitar Lesson – Track 2: First Listen – Overview
First look at our classic “rock shuffle” track. There are many great tunes that incorporate this type of groove, among them “Freeway Jam” (Jeff Beck), “Strange Kind of Woman” (Deep Purple), “Black Friday” (Steely Dan) and many more, which were borrowing from the blues genre. Each beat has a triplet feel, and can be thought of “triple time” (Just FYI: a more straight groove – based on standard eighth notes – would be considered to be in “duple time”, sometimes referred to as “straight eighths”).
Guitar Lesson – Track 2: Full Solo Study – Performance
As with many blues and blues/rock tunes, it’s possible to simply play minor pentatonic over the whole rhythm track. However, while this is a safe choice and good practice for players in more formative stages of learning, it’s not as interesting to the listener. Similarly – as with many blues and blues/rock tunes – it’s possible to blend major and minor licks, both pentatonic and modal. Advancing players are encouraged to adopt these more in-depth approaches, which are explored in the next series of licks.
Guitar Lesson – Track 2: Lick 1 – Demonstration
A classic “chestnut” lick which brings to my mind the influence of Billy Gibbons and Angus Young. It involves two overlapping notes and descending slide. There are many variations possible and this one incorporates wah and “hybrid picking”, which utilizes both the pick and fingers. It’s fairly simple and is made effective by developing a good “feel”.
Guitar Lesson – Track 2: Lick 2 – Demonstration
A clear “modal” lick outlines the chord progression heard in the rhythm track. The description focuses on the back half of the lick first, which involves a major pentatonic bend. Prior to that, there’s an arpeggio which outlines the A Major chord as its playing in the background. The very end incorporates the track’s main mode (B Mixolydian), with a minor third thrown in for added “bluesiness”.
Guitar Lesson – Track 2: Lick 3 – Demonstration
This lick demonstrates how you can play a pattern that is boldly pentatonic, but not stuck in one of those typical “box” shapes. Instead, it works its way down the neck entirely on one string, utilizing classic, Jeff Beck-influenced hammer-ons that resolve on the lower part of the neck.
Guitar Lesson – Track 2: Lick 4 – Demonstration
Here, we move from a bend on the first string straight into a bend on the second. This is an important skill that applies to many more licks than just this exact one. The blues feel is especially given weight by the use of the third, which is not really minor and not really major, but somewhere in between – a concept sometimes referred to as a “blue note” and is discussed in the breakdown.
Guitar Lesson – Track 2: Lick 5 – Demonstration
This lick involves the two-handed tapping concepts discussed in Track 1/Lick 4. In this case, we are using a minor pentatonic shape that includes the lowered 5th (a pattern sometimes referred to as the “blues scale”). We also take the tapping to a slightly more advanced level by spreading the pattern across two strings.
Digging these free video heavy rock guitar soloing lessons? Check out Alex Skolnick’s full course, Solo Factory: Heavy Rock.